Friday, 15 November 2013

My Talk

This was my talk in the Ministry School last night. David kindly put me in the small school, which, as I sit at the back, is an easy hop without crutches, and involves neither step nor slope (as the main platform does).

I was especially nervous about this. I would have written it differently had I known from that start that Natasha was to be my householder. I would have said less myself, and given her more to say, as she is confident in the school.  However, we did it. And David was very kind about it. And Carol helped me there and back from my seat.

James 3:17,18

Study No 19.: Use of Bible encouraged

Setting 3:  Making the first return visit on someone who showed interest

Sue:  Hello Natasha, its good to see you again, and thanks  for asking me in.  Do you remember  the question you asked me when we talked on your doorstep last week.

N:  Yes, I do remember asking you how Bible teaching can help us, as it's such an old-fashioned book.  We live in a very different world nowadays.

Sue:  And I have been thinking how best to answer that because, yes, if the Bible is a book  written by men then it would certainly be out of date by now.  But I want you to look at this claim it makes - you don't have a Bible do you - so would you read it from my Bible.

N:   (2 Timothy 3:16-17)   "All Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness, that the man of God may be fully competent, completely equipped for every good work."    

Sue:  Now that is quite a claim isn't it.  All Scripture is inspired by God and it completely equips us for every good work.  So, if that claim is true, then the Bible contains advice from our Creator, Jehovah, the very source of wisdom.  So I thought we might look together at these verse (James 3:17,18):  "But the wisdom from above is first of all chaste, then peaceable, reasonable, ready to obey, full of mercy and good fruits, not making partial distinctions, not hypocritical.  Moreover, the fruit of righteousness has its seed sown under peaceful conditions for those who are making peace." The Bible teaches us to be chaste, to be peaceable, to be reasonable, to be full of good fruits, to be impartial, not to be prejudiced.  And aren't they all qualities that the world needs right now?

N:  Certainly, but how can the Bible teach us to be like that?

Sue:  To be chaste really means to be wise from the heart, that is to have taken Jehovah's standards of good and bad into our heart and to be doing our best to act on them.  I think Proverbs 3:7 sums it up quite well.  Could you read it for us?

N: (Reads Proverbs 3:7):"Do not become wise in your own eyes. Fear Jehovah and turn away from bad."

Sue:  Do you see the point being made there.  Whose moral standards, whose wisdom, should we follow?

N:  Well, its saying Jehovah's - and not to trust in our own wisdom.

Sue: That is exactly the point. The wisdom from above.  That is why we need to study the Bible to find out what God's standards are.    And to give you an example, we talked of the wisdom from above being impartial - it does not make partial distinctions.  Have you ever thought how Bible teaching could help us to be impartial?   For example, it tells us this:  (reads Acts 17: 26)  "And he made out of one man every nation of men, to dwell upon the entire surface of the earth, and he decreed the appointed times and the set limits of the dwelling of men". He made out of one man every nation of men. We are all the children of Adam.  Doesn't it follow then that we are all brothers and sisters, that we should have been one united loving family.

N:  Yes, if that's true.

Sue:  But think how the world and its wisdom has got us all divided up by race, by nationality, by religion, by social class, in so many ways.  Isn't it this clear Bible teaching about our origins that can counteract that?  For example, when we go door to door with the Bible message, we go to every door. We don't target some people, and leave others out. Godly wisdom teaches us that everybody needs to hear the Bible's message.  And what about peacefulness?  Do you think that religions are known for being peaceful?

N.  Not really, to be honest.  I think religion is often the cause of wars.

Sue:  Yes, that is sadly true.  But isn't that because, whatever those religions may claim, they are not teaching or following Godly wisdom.  Jehovah tells us to be "no part" of the world, to take no part in its divisive wars and politics. And, importantly, this peaceableness should start within our family and within the congregation family too.   God's wisdom is said to be "full of mercy", so we are taught to be patient with each other, being slow to take offence, and quick to forgive.  And if we are like that, aren't we showing that we are paying attention to our Creator?

N.  Yes, if that is really what the Bible teaches, then I can see why you feel we need to hear what it says.  Marriages don't seem to last these days.  I think I'd be scared to even think of getting married, as it seems impossible to make them last.

Sue. Yes, that is so true.  And just to show you how we can be helped right now by learning  "the wisdom from above", could I call by next week and bring you a small publication that highlights all Jehovah's advice for a happy family life?  He is, after all, the Maker of marriage.  I could bring you a Bible too.

N.  Yes, do.  I am usually at home in the mornings. 


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